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MSU Develops Website for Parents of Children with Diabetes

Katie Murray with website

Type 1 diabetes, which afflicts more than half a million children under the age of 14 worldwide, is a complex disease and parents often take responsibility for managing their child’s disease. As a result, parents can benefit from a place that provides reliable information and offers support.

Such a place now lives at Michigan State University, where a team of researchers from MSU’s colleges of Communication Arts and Sciences and Nursing, as well as from Sparrow Health System and the University of Michigan Medical School, has developed a website, MyT1DHero that fills those needs.

In addition to providing a wealth of resources, the website highlights guest stories from those impacted by diabetes including researchers, doctors, children and parents. The blog serves as a place for those with diabetes, especially parents whose children are battling the disease, to share their stories and connect with others facing similar situations.

“While the site can help anyone impacted by diabetes, we are especially targeting parents who will benefit from the informational and social support this site aims to provide,” said Katie Murray with MSU’s Department of Advertising and Public Relations.

For example, Murray said a parent contributed to the site, saying she felt guilty when she learned of her child’s T1D diagnosis and could map his symptoms at least six months prior. Feelings of guilt are common among parents of children with T1D, and sharing her story helps assure others they are not alone.

And although parents are the main audience, the site is also designed for young people who may not feel comfortable discussing their diabetes with others.

“Kids can sometimes be embarrassed about these things,” Murray said. “They don’t want to be perceived as being different.”

The website stems from an American Diabetes Association grant that is being used to develop a cell phone app that will help teach young patients how to manage diabetes on their own and how to improve communication with their parents.

To share a story or to take part in a diabetes-related study the team is conducting, visit the MyT1DHero website.

The project also has a presence on Facebook,https://www.facebook.com/myt1dhero and Twitterhttps://twitter.com/MyT1D_Hero.

Tom Oswald, Katie Murray via MSU Today

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